2014 Thunder Over Louisville Boating Safety Considerations - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

2014 Thunder Over Louisville Boating Safety Considerations

From U.S. Coast Guard and Thunder Over Louisville Safety Coalition 

Where to be: Thunder can be enjoyed on the Ohio upriver of the designated picket line. Boaters can moor upriver of the Big Four Bridge, but not in the navigation channel.

Where not to be: United States Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Sector Ohio Valley will establish a special local regulation which closes the Ohio River to all transiting boat traffic from mile 605 (Portland Canal) to 598.0 (Six Mile Island) from 12:00 p.m. to midnight.

Navigation Channel: The navigable channel is from Kentucky shoreline to the center of the river. No vessels may anchor or loiter in the channel. Vessels should not block the marina entrances on either end of Towhead Island.

Picket Line: The Coast Guard will establish a picket line beginning approximately 200 yards up river from the Big Four Railroad Bridge starting at 12:00 p.m. All spectator boats shall stay up river from the picket line and must stay clear of the navigable channel. The navigable channel starts at the Kentucky shoreline to the middle of the river. No vessels my anchor in the channel. There also will be no anchoring on the Kentucky side from the Big Four Bridge to Towhead Island.

Don't run out of gas!  Mariners must ensure they have enough fuel for the entire day. Local marinas may not be open. If you plan to purchase fuel en route to Louisville, call ahead to marinas to be sure they're open. Mariners launching their boats locally should make appropriate arrangements.

How's the weather? Check the weather and river conditions before departing home and dress appropriately for the weather conditions. Remember, April nights on the Ohio River can be cold.

Make Sure You Are Visible:  Recreational vessels can be surprisingly hard to spot on the water, particularly during twilight, after sunset, or in fog or other conditions of limited visibility.  Recreational vessels are required to have proper navigation lights, and they must be energized between sunset and sunrise and during periods of restricted visibility.

How's your anchor? Be sure you have the proper type and size anchor for your vessel. Check with your dealer if you are unsure. Bring an extra anchor and lots of line. Makeshift anchors like five-gallon buckets and cinderblocks will not hold on the bottom of the river.  The river bottom around the Big Four Bridge is rocky, and it may be difficult to anchor. Be aware of vessels anchored around you and allow for swing in the anchor line. Think about what you will do if your line becomes fouled.

Keep your head above water: Kentucky, Indiana, and U.S. law requires you to have an appropriately sized and readily available life jacket for every adult and child on the boat.  In support of the ongoing effort to improve boating safety, the Coast Guard now requires that all children under 13-years of age wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket.

When there's trouble, the worst thing a boater can be is invisible! Help may be in sight but if they don't see or hear you, it'll do you no good. You can signal your need for help by:


  • Marine VHF Radio on channel 16, the hailing and distress frequency.
  • Coast Guard approved flares and smoke signals.
  • A continuous sounding or repeated blasts on a horn or whistle.
  • Cell phone call to Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley at 1-800-253-7465.
  • Make sure all navigational lights are operational and working.
Clean Boating: Each year millions of pounds of trash is collected from our waterways. Plastic bottles, food wrappers, cans, styrofoam and cigarette butts are all too common along our waterways.  Besides being unsightly, this trash is a danger to our marine wildlife.  Throwing any kind of trash overboard is a violation of federal regulations.


Keep it clean: Boaters can help keep our river clean by practicing the following:


  • Dispose of trash properly in a receptacle back on shore.
  • Use an approved onboard sanitation device; it is against the law to dispose of raw sewage overboard.
  • Fuel carefully and avoid spilling fuel and oil in the river. Please do not "top off", as this practice frequently leads to spills.
Wear lifejackets: We said it before, and we'll say it again; just do it!


Observe safety rules at all times: Navigation rules and no wake zones exist to keep boaters safe; abide by them. You can obtain a copy of the Coast Guard's, "Navigation Rules: International-Inland" by calling the government printing office at (202) 512-1800.

Right size boat: Smaller vessels are particularly vulnerable to accidents.  Wakes from other vessels, wind and current conditions on the River, and other factors can place small vessels at risk.  Don't overload your vessel, and return to shore if you are having trouble maintaining control of your vessel – this is likely a sign that your vessel is too small for the prevailing conditions and could result in a serious accident. 

Take a Safe Boating Course: The Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Power Squadron provide safe boating courses for novice and experienced boaters alike. Call the Coast Guard Auxiliary (502) 459-0287 or the Power Squadron at (502) 241-6851 for more information.

Avoid alcohol: Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; please enjoy Thunder over Louisville this year through responsible boating.

Be cautious and courteous: There will be a high concentration of boaters attempting to leave at the same time after the event. Boaters need to take their time leaving as not to create a wake that may be hazardous to other boaters.

 Leave a float plan: If a vessel has an emergency or is overdue, pertinent information will be available to provide local marine police or the Coast Guard. An example of a float plan can be found at http://www.uscgboating.org/safety/fedreqs/floatplan.pdf

 Questions? Contact Sector Ohio Valley Public Affairs Officer, LT Geoff Albe at (502) 376-1862 or visit the Coast Guard's official Web site for safe boating at www.uscgboating.org.



A lifejacket can only save your life if you're wearing it!

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